The Man Of God Must...
Flee from sin
Timothy is told twice by Paul to flee from his temptations (1 Timothy 6:11, 2 Timothy 2:22). There are times, as much as we do not want to admit it, that we feel powerless in the face of sin. It just overwhelms us! Instead of turning around and fleeing from it, we think we can face it head-on and eliminate it. We all hate to lose a fight, after all! We want to think we are tough enough. But we cannot win if we try to fight it when we are ill-prepared, or when we walk into a situation that has consistently defeated us over and over again. This is why the apostle Paul makes it so clear to Timothy that he must run away from tempting situations.
Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love
In the same way that there are a number things that Paul teaches Timothy to avoid, there are also important attitudes and actions that Timothy, as a man of God, must pursue. In fact, in our opening text, we find this is the case. “But flee from these things, you man of God; and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11).
What is most significant is the fact that Timothy is never told to simply avoid evil in the world, but to also (and perhaps more importantly) pursue good things to replace the evil things.
We sometimes fall into the error of thinking that abstinence from unrighteousness is really all we need to call ourselves righteous. Surely we have all met individuals like this. They say, “Well, I don’t do bad things. I don’t kill people, or steal, or get drunk all the time. I must be going to Heaven, right?!” As if simply not doing really terrible deeds is enough to justify us before God! There are a lot of sins that I do not commit, but does this save me?
According to the command from Paul, who speaks so boldly and so authoritatively from God, and inspired by the Spirit, we are not to remove the evil from our lives only, but to fill our souls with good things to replace the evil! We are not to simply flee from sin, but to pursue righteousness, to go after it, to seek it, to find it, to keep it, to use it in every way and every moment that we live! We must all remember that we are not justified by the things we do not do, as if “not being a bad person” is the same thing as faithfully walking in the footsteps of Jesus.